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Elegy: The Old Man
Edging between the truck
and the wall I work back
to the far end, past the concrete,
onto the original dirt --
triangles of broken glass
shine among the old straw;
I make out a hame-ring,
yellowed and fl y-specked; a mended
strap, cracked and with salt
from dried sweat still on it; high
on the wall, hung there
perhaps by my brother, to be visible
and out of the way,
an old `silver'
harness buckle, a heart shape
set in the center, catching
the half-light where it bulges --
a bit of the bold old
fi nery of a set of harness.
I take it down. The heart is starred
with corrosion, dented on one side --
the whole buckle's bent awry,
across the concave underside
a spider has stretched a web:
in the quiet I can hear
the strain and give of the fabric
as I poke at it ... nothing
underneath but a trace of fi ne
reddish dirt. I blow it out.